Saturday, 2 January 2010


Perhaps the worst thing about being dead was the complete absence of bereavement counselling for the recently deceased.

He had attended his own funeral, drinking in an unhealthy cocktail of schadenfreude and self satisfaction mixed with longing and regret.

Who knew he was so popular? And who had known that Maila had held a torch for him all these years? Too late now, of course. And he and Ed hadn’t spoken for a decade, but here he was. He’d always assumed they’d drifted irrevocably apart, but his death had pulled tight on the faint threads that joined them. He had so much catching up that he wanted to do with the ugly bastard.

But then he saw his mum. There had been few sights in life, or unlife, worse than the sight of his mother in tears, but now he was helpless to console her, unable to tell her that he would make everything right, incapable of even putting an arm around her. Not that he had when he could.

As she was led away by his brother, a crowd of well-wishers gathered around her like a huddle of black penguins, he was left to haunt the cemetery by himself.

And that was when he realised how alone he now was. They had lost a son, a brother, a friend. He had lost everyone. His entire world was dead. And he had the torture of seeing it carry on in front of him, without him, as untouchable shadows. Everywhere he went, he was to be haunted by the ghosts of the living and the regrets of the past.

Had it had gone too far already?

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